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Piotr Beczala - The French Collection / Buffalo News review

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Piotr Beczala, "The French Collection," Opera arias by Bizet, Berlioz, Massenet, Gounod and Verdi, (Deutsche Grammophon). Polish tenor Piotr Beczala, at 48, is at the top of his game. Starting with his debut at Covent Garden in 2004, singing the flowery "Italian Tenor Aria" in "Der Rosenkavalier," he has gloried in what the tenor voice can do. That joy shines in this collection, which has him singing arias from "Carmen," "Werther," "Don Carlos" and other operas more off the beaten track, such as Massenet's "Le Cid"; Donizetti's "Dom Sebastian"; and Berlioz's "Beatrice et Benedict." His voice has an urbanity and also a freedom, which I understand is kind of a nod to the liberties taken by singers of the past. He sounds spontaneous, not easy in music as demanding as this. And his high notes can have an exquisite quietude, always something to admire. Soprano Diana Damrau joins him in the tumultuous "Toi! Vous! – Oui, c'est moi." from Massenet's "Manon," a duet he has also sung famously with Anna Netrebko. This collection serves as a good introduction to a terrific tenor. Beczala, by the way, studied with the great soprano Sena Jurinac, who made historic recordings with former Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra music director Josef Krips. 4 stars (Mary Kunz Goldman)